Outside in Nature

The pandemic has forced most of us to stay home in one lockdown after another. Exceptions were made for essential work, or buying groceries, or going for a short walk with or without a dog.  

My daily walk on a fire road to open space feels like freedom from the prison of my apartment.  Breathing fresh air, basking in sunshine and exercising my body helps me physically, spiritually and even emotionally with happiness inducing endorphins, views and hawks. 

Many of us have discovered the priceless value of getting out into Nature. Studies have shown that the risk of infection is much lower outside than inside, so more people are visiting parks, hiking in public open spaces and camping. Going to a beautiful lake or forest is a change of perspective that inspires us to take a lot of pictures, and maybe create art in various forms.

Being in Nature can inspire us spiritually too. “Mother” Earth with her water, plants and animals has been worshiped for millennia for nurturing Life. Mountains have a massive energy (E= mc2) which I believe has a matching spiritual dimension. We are all part of Creation, from tiny ants to elephants, from atoms to stars, from quantum to cosmic. Everything is connected energetically.

Walking in Nature is also grounding. Our ancestors were more grounded and felt that energetic connection more than modern humans in their large cities and hectic lives. Indigenous peoples have kept that ancestral knowledge alive despite genocide and assimilation. We must learn to protect and preserve the environment so that our children and future generations can thrive.

Civilizations throughout history have extracted what they could from Nature, without thinking about the consequences until their civilizations crashed. Their wealth came from exploiting the land and animals with irrigated agriculture, and hunting wildlife. Today, wealthy people are still exploiting land with mining and drilling, and animals with industrial fishing and factory farming.

Our current civilization is not sustainable much longer. We are polluting our land, air and water, depleting aquifers and fisheries, cutting down forests and paving over Earth, and heating up the planet to dangerous levels. To avoid a catastrophic crash, we have to quickly change direction.  

We must live in harmony with Nature, repair the damage already done, and be more resilient facing the climate crisis. We must protect every ecosystem, and allow them to rewild naturally.  We must move from the old extractive paradigm to this new holistic and sustainable civilization.

Robert Raven

Robert Raven grew up on three continents, but he's lived in the SF Bay Area for forty years. He is a retired high school teacher, with a BA in Government and a MA in History. He has been an advocate all of his adult life on various national and local issues.

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